Monday, 9 July 2012

Online Classifieds: Part II

In part I of the series, we discussed the different online classifieds and a bit about what makes them unique. Today we'll talk about how to set up an advertisement to help you unload unwanted things and make some of that money back.

As I said before, the two main classifieds that I personally use are Cragislist and Kijiji. If you plan to sell more than one item I recommend creating an account so that the process of putting up an advertisement is quicker.

Once an account is set up, you can start putting your items up for sale. First choose the appropriate city and correct section of the classifieds for your item. This is important because the majority of the deals will be done locally and putting the item in the correct section will mean more exposure to people who are the most likely to purchase your stuff.

The title of the ad should be informative but not too descriptive. For example, "Brand New Bauer Men Skates" is probably sufficient. "Never Used! Brand NEW Bauer Skates for Men! Bought for $299! GREAT DEAL" is way too long. In fact, I don't think that would even fit within the character limit.

As a buyer,  I ignore the ads with a lot of fluff; when a seller uses words such as "super rare" or "amazing deal" in the title (or in the description) I just move on to the next ad. I'll be the judge on whether it's a good deal or not - I don't need the buyer to tell me and when I see stuff like that, I feel like the seller is trying to hustle me.

Now we move on to the body of the advertisement. This is where you can put any additional information such as any defects (scratches, dents, etc.) and individual prices if you want to put similar items in the same advertisement (ex. a box of old DVDs which you would be willing to sell together as one lot or individually). This is also where you can inform buyers on whether or not you are firm on the price. If you state that the price is firm, then hagglers will usually not bother to contact you and both parties would save time. You can also state where you would be willing to meet up to make the exchange. If you want to meet near your house, or if the item is too large (ex. an oven), simply put "pick-up only" so that potential buyers will be aware that they have to arrange for their own transportation of the item.

Pictures are great at attracting buyers because a visual of the product will allow them to make a better judgement on condition of the item and they know what they are getting into so deals will be successful more often. Take a nice bright picture and upload it onto the ad.

As a buyer, I don't necessarily need to see the picture to be interested but it does help me significantly in deciding whether or not to contact the seller. Also when the buyer doesn't explicitly say that the prices are firm, I try to haggle a bit - there's no harm in that and you may save a few bucks. Another trick I use it buying in bulk and asking for a discount. For example, if someone is selling 10 video games for $4 apiece, I would offer $30 for all of them. The seller may bite if they just want to get rid of them. Of course this only works on certain items and not bigger stuff like beds or cars.

On top of all that, as a buyer, make sure you do your research! Check on Amazon, eBay or even the same classifieds to get a better sense of the going price of the items that you're looking for. This way you'll know if the ad you're looking at has the item ludicrously overpriced or, if you're lucky, under priced and you can make out like a bandit.  One final tip as a buyer; you usually have a lot of leverage. Many sellers are in two camps: either they just want to get rid of the item or they are in desperate need for money. Both scenarios result in the buyer being able to offer less for the item.

However, lowballing can result in the buyer being insulted and the deal falling through so be careful. Personally, I lowball in a couple cases: one is when the seller says something along the lines of "moving in a week, need to get rid of this television!". Another case is when I'm sure that I would survive without the item, but it would be nice to have... at the right price. I would let the buyer know my offer and when they counter offered, I would say "thank you, but this is the best I can do, let me know if you change your mind". It's hit or miss but when it works, I get a great deal and when it doesn't? I'll get another chance at the item eventually. This line of thinking may seem strange if I'm looking for stuff like dressers or lawnmowers, but I use classifieds to collect retro video games which is a hobby of mine so hopefully that makes a little more sense.

Up next is how to set up the meeting to make the deal in a safe way (the most exciting part)!

-the Paperboy

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